captured dispatch from General Sherman to Admiral Porter, that the enemy's force could not now have consisted of less than eight or nine regiments.
On Monday [23rd], our troops were not moved, for the reason that our artillery was out of ammunition and hourly expecting a supply by our boats, and the men were without rations, and had been scantily and irregularly supplied up to that time, owing to the fact that we arrived without rations and without transportation, and it required time to collect both.
On Tuesday morning the march was again resumed, but the artillery was carried but a little distance until the roads were found impassable, and it was left.
On Wednesday [25th], the enemy was overtaken on Watson's farm, about 3 miles above Black Bayou. They were posted in a dense canebrake and wood, from which they retired before our skirmishers, the boats having preceded them. The woods were occupied by our troops that (Wednesday) night.
On Thursday morning our troops again advanced through Fore's plantation, when a skirmish ensued between their rear guard and our sharpshooters.
On Friday morning, when preparing to advance through the last skirt of woods on the east side of Deer Creek, before reaching Black Bayou, I learned from cavalry scouts sent in advance that the enemy's boats had gone down Black Bayou and his land forces retired.
On Monday evening, the Thirty-first Mississippi Regiment, Colonel J. A. Orr commanding, arrived, and in the advance on Tuesday and Wednesday Colonel Orr had the immediate command of the Twenty-SECOND, Thirty-THIRD, Thirty-first Mississippi, and Fortieth Alabama Regiments.
On Friday night, after the first engagement, the cavalry was sent several miles below to fell trees into to stream to prevent the escape of the boats, but were driven from their work at an nearly hour by a body of the enemy's infantry without having accomplished much. The cavalry did that night capture a negro, a bearer of a dispatch from General Sherman to Admiral Porter, which was sent to you at Vicksburg. The capture of the gunboats could only have been accomplished by the presence of a land force strong enough to have moved a part of it boldly to the rear of the boats, and taken a position where the succoring land force of the enemy might have been held firmly in check, while the remaining part might have felled trees and otherwise obstructed the stream in rear of the boats, annoying them with sharpshooters and compelled their surrender from absolute stress and calamity of situation after their ammunition, and perhaps provisions, should, have been exhausted. The entire force under my command up to Monday did not exceed 1,300 effective men, and at no time during the seven days did it exceed 2,500 men. The visionary absurdity of the over-sanguine expectations of capturing gunboats entertained by some military men becomes apparent when it is considered that from 12 to 15 feet depth of water, with a width of from 6 to 10 feet, is always interposed between the assailants and the object assailed, and the boats well night incapable of entrance when boarder, and each arranged with reference to the protection of the other. This entire expedition was full of hardships to the troops, who endured them with patience and fortitude, and were always cool and spirited in the presence of the enemy.
I not only feel under obligation to my regular staff-Captain W. R. Barksdale, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant A. N. Parker, aide-de-camp but also to Lieutenant [W. A.] Drennan, acting ordnance